How to import/ship products into the UK

by er90
5 replies
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Hi warrior's, thanks for taking time to read this post!

My question is regarding cost of bringing goods into the UK from Canada as well as using a distribution company to handle packages once in the UK.

I have an online store shipping subscription boxes from Canada to UK. All boxes weigh under 2lbs. Regular shipping is very expensive so I am looking at using parcelhero to bulk ship to one address in the UK such as a distribution warehouse and have them then ship out the boxes within the UK. This means they would have to repackage/relabel once in the UK to send to UK addresses though and they charge something like $2 per item, my box will have 6 items in it so this would be expensive. The other option is that they simply relabel the boxes once in the UK but wondering how to go about doing this without the package looking messy. The last option would be sending over a pallet by boat instead of individual already packaged boxes but not sure if this would make a difference on the price of duties/import fees compared to sending 100 boxes a month to a warehouse that are already packaged and would be valued at approx $10 each. Typically when you mail something the person picking up is responsible for duties but since I will be bulk mailing to one address wonder if this means high import fees on each package?

As you can tell I am a bit of a rookie this process. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

#box #canada #import #online #products #subscription
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  • Profile picture of the author damiankrzyz

    Any goods with a value over £15 imported in the UK will be eligible for duty (3% most of the time) and VAT (20%). It doesn't matter if the each box is only worth $10 it is the total value of the shipment.

    How many orders do you get from UK customers per month?

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    • Profile picture of the author er90
      Hi Damian,

      Thanks for the reply.

      Just starting but through market research would be looking at a min or 50-100 subscription boxes per month. Logistic wise trying to figure it out though if I am charging $40 for boxes, product inside them costs me $8, shipping them bulk to a packaging centre in uk would add $8 per box for shipping then $3 for shipping in the UK if I was shipping them direct from canada to customer would mean i pay more for shipping but customer is responsible for duty whereas if I ship all packages to shipping center in uk it means I am paying taxes/duty and eating into a lot of profit so trying to figure the best method of getting it there.
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      • Profile picture of the author damiankrzyz
        I assume you're referring to US dollars?
        50-100 boxes is a good number.
        There is a great benefit to having the boxes in the UK as you can use it as additional USP to your advantage. Customers will be happy as they get the product fast and give you good reviews.
        Where did you get the $3 for shipping in the UK from? There is no service in the UK that will deliver a parcel of 1kg with a confirmation/signature.
        Also in your previous post, you said you found a company to pick and pack for you at $2? This sounds almost too good to be true.

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  • Profile picture of the author Importexport
    Yes you will pay duty and VAT. The most important thing is to locate a service that will do the shipping economically.

    I know that companies such as DHL will ship in bulk, provided the parcels in the larger package are already individually labeled and addressed. The will then deliver the individual parcels, either through their own network, or through Royal Mail.

    Look on the bright side: Your customers won't be upset by having to pay duty and tax when their parcels arrive.

    Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see
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  • Profile picture of the author doorji
    I found a lot of Forward shippers online in google, but never used them. Try searching and make sure you read TrustPilot reviews about their services.
    Cheap VPS $1.66 ~ $20/Year
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